Category Archives: beach photography

Why should I look at pictures from the days of Super Storm Sandy it reminds me of chaos

One of the most unforgettable events I’ve ever photographed was the destruction Superstorm Sandy (SS) reaked on our beloved Jersey Shore.

I made some of my favorite images from Sandy into prints, greeting cards and other photographic products. Some love these images but for many of Sandy’s victims they are a painful reminder of very bad times.
I understand both reactions.  I was keenly aware of the pain Sandy created. Despair and turmoil were in the air and it didn’t end. We had a feroucious snow storm right after Sandy.

I was sneaking around with my camera trying not to offend anyone “digging out.” The first day out with my camera I felt the judgement. People worked wheel barrels and shovels moving sand from inside their homes to outside. It seemed an endless task. People were hurting and in shock. Some were insulted seeing me with my camera and I understood. Nonetheless, I had to journal this storm’s aftermath. I was driven.

Two friends of ours lost their basement and first floor. When they were over my house recently they told me how upset they were by this year’s calendar each resident receives. It was filled with pictures from Sandy. The calendar featured the ever growing garbage piles at Pier Village, the 3 story high mountain of broken trees, a second hill of furniture and household items ravaged by salt water and the final mound of splintered wood and boardwalk. These three ever growing piles of destroyed lives grew daily by the truckload. I had to capture the power of that rank landscape.photocrati gallery.

At the time I didnt understand my need to chronicle Sandy. I never had this desire before and I felt guilty. I read locals posts on Facebook the day Sea Bright opened up to cars. Residents were asking gawkers with cameras just stay the “expletive” out of Sea Bright. I understood and felt the pain. I snuck in to Sea bright at dawn hoping to not be noticed. I shot tons of images but when i went to upload to my computer I couldn’t find the card! I have none of those pictures. Karma?

Looking back I understand why I had to shoot these images. It’s a horrible time to remember but… Sandy will help us avoid complacency. Here in Monmouth County we live in beach/resort living luxury with electricity, sewar, water and heat. Theres nothing wrong with it but when something so powerful takes it all away we realize though it’s almost impossible there is still much to be thankful for.

In my neighborhood a transformer fell down after being struck by a tree, I was outside when it happened because my daughter was too scared to stay in our house up on the hill the wind was shaking us for many hours at 118 MPH. I walked her to my neighbors who lives in the lowlands with her 3 kids and on my return I saw the blue lighting of the transformer crackling before its death just 100 yards away from me. That transformer was our neighborhoods hub of power. After 10 days or so of generator living, power around us was being restored. Daily the account of who had power was noted but our block remained dark. The tree that smashed and pulled the pole down was on a neighbor’s property and residents grumbled blaming that particular family for not cutting down their 100 year old Oak prior to Sandy. Many felt anger at our neighbor and blamed them that we still had no power.
Listening to friends blame the neighbors with the offending oak I imagined a vigilante group with pitch forks and pointed sticks ablaze descending on this house. It was our darkest hours on more than one level.

Once things started to return to normal people got to the business of cutting down all the trees in their yards. We had many 100 year old trees in this part of Long Branch.
Now our street is naked and open to constant sunlight beating down.

Photographing Super Storm Sandy woke me up, shook me out of complacency.  Reminding me that I look through my lens to see what I miss in the blur that is my life. Photography is my tool to take a closer look.

here’s a link to a post I wrote while in the thick of it. Dec 28 2012

Thanks for looking till next time.


Sandy’s destruction on our shore


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I have been uncontrollably drawn to the destruction o fmy community as a result of Super Storm Sandy. As a photographer I feel a responsibility to document what has happened to our environment. It is photo journalism and I feel right at home with that camera position. It is the power of photography to tell these stories of loss and rebuilding.
It isn’t easy or comfortable to come into an area of total loss and take out my camera and tripod, but I feel drawn to it. Not the spectacle of the event but the necessity to document history. Never has our area seen this kind of storm. Everything has changed
and needs to be remade, rebuilt and reinvented.
Thanks for checking in.

Beautiful Senior Alex

photocrati galleryWhen Suzie called and told me Alex wanted me to do her senior portrait of course I was more than happy. Not only do I get to photograph a senior, which is always tons of fun, I get to see how Alex has grown up.

What a beautiful teenager Alexandra has become. poised, confident, fun, funny, smart and sensible.

It’s an honor to be asked to photograph Alex at this stage of her life. I’ve been watching her grow up in front of my  lens since the Sand Sharks Swim Team at Sands 8 years ago.

Here is a few shots from the day. Susie was hair and Makeup but mostly She hung with my Sara and they discussed what Jagars moves are!

I used my 70- 200 mm Canon lens on my 5D mark 2 as well as an off camera speedlight source in a chimera 24 inch box. I dressed the light with lite grid  and a heavy diffusion with a bastard Amber gel closest to the source. ( TJ held my light and did a wonderful job.)

The background all about timing, I love civil twilight. We shot this at North Beach, Long Branch. So sad after going to monmouth Beach, Irene really beat the heck out of it

Thanks Susuie and Alex, it was fun.


seeing with new eyes

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MARS- Mid Atlantic Region School of Professional Photography

I have been attending school in Cape May, May 1st to May 6th, for the past five years.

This year I decided to be a class assistant and I really wanted to take Tony Sweets class

He had not been there since the first year (2006) I attended MARS and I had been waiting. well it was worth the wait- what an amazing week.

Tony set the mood with his authenticity and incredible skills and so the class was stupendous. The work produced by this group was extraordinary everyone was great.

We had someone come in from Geramny to be there!

Our daily schedule was dawn and dusk sessions everyday except for wednesday for the shoot out competiton and then we went to dinner as a group.

Mostly we shot in Cape May:ie the cove, the shipyard and sunset beach but we also went to Ocean City, to the 59th street pier and met up with a friend of Tony’s named Jim Indelicarto, a pro photog in that area, check his website it’s awesome

all this to say after the sunrise shots we went to a quaint breakfast spot where I thought we were gona get kicked out cause we were so very loud. We did a lot of laughing.

The technical side of things to name a few were studies in  long exposures , digital sandwhiches, HDR ( High Dynamic Range) and stich pans. I have only begun to scratch the surface of whats possible.

For those of you who will be doing sessions with me this summer I will be trying out some of these techniques and software manipulations. Lots of cool stuff to help make pictures even more magical.